About the daters . . .
Faren: A subtly confident, down-to-earth person who means well and has good character. Intelligent, goal-oriented and insightful. Can make me laugh and feel at ease.
Mustafa: I like a slim, athletic build, preferably real hair — weaves and wigs don’t usually do it for me. She has to be smart, ambitious and have direction in life.
Faren: I’m a mature, easygoing sweetheart with a great body and a mind to match.
Mustafa: I’m young, successful and easy on the eyes. I’m from the South, so I know how to treat a woman.
Faren: Completely crazy but the sweetness of a Michael Cera mixed with the insightful wit of Dave Chapelle and the eccentric, dorky charm of a Donald Glover.
Mustafa: I would love a Zoe Saldana who can cook and loves to go to the strip club.
Faren: I had a guy completely annoy me with his drunkenness and his spewing of immature comments and behavior. I kicked him out my car as I was driving him back to his place.
Mustafa: It was a blind date. The girl ended up looking like a mountain yeti. I texted a friend to call me, act like my mother, and tell me to come home and clean up my room.
About the date . . .
7:30 p.m., Hudson, downtown
Faren: I got there about 10 to 15 minutes early. The manager took a few pictures of me just sitting there, waiting. That helped me relax, because earlier in the day I was starting to think, Why had I signed up for this?
Mustafa: I like to be punctual, and I’d gone online earlier to figure out the parking, but it was a mess.
Faren: He got there at 7:40; it wasn’t a big deal. My first thought? You’re cute. As soon as I saw him, I felt more at ease. He stopped being this random guy who I only knew by first name. He seemed like the kind of guy I’d be attracted to. He complimented my dress and shook my hand.
Mustafa: She’s definitely a cutie. Most definitely my type. She definitely didn’t have the wig or weave. She has a unique hairstyle, which I don’t normally go for, but she pulled it off with flying colors. If I’d have seen her out, I would have tried to say something funny, get her to laugh. Especially now that I know she likes making fun of people like I do, that’s what I would have done.
Faren: We started talking about what we’re going to drink. I was worried that, if he orders wine, would I get my usual Jack and Coke? But when he said he was going to order a Hennessy and ginger ale, I knew things were getting off on a good foot.
Mustafa: She seemed a little shy at first, but once we started talking and I was able to joke around with her, she warmed up. If there were any awkward moments, I wasn’t aware of them. I know I can say some goofy things that may be awkward to some, but she seemed to get my sense of humor.
Faren: We both like people-watching and laughing at crazy things people wear and do. We were laughing at the same things, like my stressing over the drink order and what other people must have thought about all the pictures.
Mustafa: I put my arm around her in some of the shots. She took random pictures of me eating and being goofy. She got the trout; I got the filet. She doesn’t eat red meat, so we gotta figure that out. I like my steak, and I like cooking steak for my guests.
Faren: I definitely noticed his accent. Most of my family is from the South by way of Georgia, so I told him he was going to make me start talking with a bit of an accent. I did comment on his politeness, like him opening doors and opening the car door and helping me out of the car.
Mustafa: This is just how I was raised. You open the door for women; you walk near the street. I don’t even know I’m doing it until someone points it out.
Faren: We were trying to figure out why we got set up. I had just applied a few months ago, and he’d been waiting a year and had forgotten what he’d put on his application. I had said I liked dorky guys and I’m kinda dorky, so we guessed it was the science fiction-dorky thing. I said I liked guys who were a little nerdy, like Michael Cera, and he seemed into movies like “Star Wars.”
Mustafa: I was teasing her about getting pulled out of line to be matched with me. I think it was the science fiction thing and that I like down-to-earth girls who know how to laugh.
Faren: There never was a point where we had to say it; I could just feel like we were going to go out again. It was so easy to talk to him.
Mustafa: Yeah, there was a spark. There was something more than just a nice meal with a nice girl. I could definitely see me kicking it with her.
Faren: We were at the restaurant until about 10:30. He suggested we go to the Park. He knew one of the bouncers, so we didn’t have to wait in line.
Mustafa: I wasn’t trying to impress her; I just was trying to get in! Once we got out of that box of a normal dinner date, things were really flowing. We were people-watching and just having fun. I’d grab her hand when we were walking through crowds at the club, but it wasn’t over-the-top physical contact. We danced a little.
Faren: He drove me to my car at the Metro station. We exchanged numbers. When he dropped me off, we hugged. The next morning, he texted me to say “Good morning,” and I told him how my work orientation was going. I’d give it a 4.5 [out of 5]. It went very, very well.
Mustafa: I’d rate it a 4.5555. I’m planning on seeing her again. I realize these can be hit-or-miss, but it worked for me. I told a co-worker about how it went this morning, and he’s already signed up for Date Lab.
UPDATE: Three days later, Faren lost power at home (thanks, Irene!) so she and Mustafa headed out for dinner at Lauriol Plaza. “If things keep going the way they are, I can see us continuing to go out,” Faren says. Mustafa agrees. “I like how this is going,” he says.
Nominate a friend for Date Lab! Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @datelab or Facebook and tell us why he or she is a great catch.